The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) remains confident that it is still on track to attain export targets of $122 billion to $130 billion by 2022, even after merchandise export performance declined by 3.1 percent in the first quarter this year.

“We expect a positive growth trajectory to set in in the subsequent quarters,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Lopez stressed that government is continuously working on diversifying the country’s export offerings and destinations; and is also pursuing trade initiatives to increase exports to trade partners.

“The government is pursuing trade initiatives to increase exports to trade partners.”

The trade chief noted that his department is looking at focusing its promotional efforts for products and services considered as export growth drivers, including office equipment, consumer electronics, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts, high-value coconut products, forest products, and wearables.

On services exports, audiovisual/creative industries, healthcare information management systems, software development, and tourism-related services will receive more focus, the trade head added.

Lopez added that DTI is also maximizing opportunities under existing preferential trade agreements with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) partners, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, India as well as with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.

“DTI is also maximizing opportunities under existing preferential trade agreements.”

The DTI is also promoting more products to the U.S. and European Union to expand utilization of their Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) schemes, Lopez said.

“Trade promotional efforts are also being done on the non-traditional markets in Russia, Africa, Latin America and South Asia. These markets are expected to experience high economic growths and with their huge population can provide for alternative export markets in the near future,” he added.

Based on the latest preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), electronics, which comprises more than half of merchandise exports, dipped by 1.7 percent to $8.8 billion in the first quarter.

Exports of non-electronics, meanwhile, decreased by 4.8 percent to $7.5 billion.

The PSA said total export sales in March 2019 reached $5.88 billion, down slightly by 2.5 percent from $6.02 billion during the same period in 2018.

“In general, we consider this as a reflection of the slowdown in the global economy,” Lopez said. “Out of 11 trade-oriented Asian economies, nine countries declined in their export performance and only Vietnam and China registered positive performance.”


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